For the second episode of “Law & Order: SVU,” we had a case that was promoted largely for an appearance by Vice-President Joe Biden, and we do understand why. Yet, at the same exact time we also had a case that was inspired by “Making a Murderer,” and it was an indictment on the prison system and the mental and psychological effects of what can happen there.
The man on trial by the end of the episode had spent more than a decade behind bars for a crime he did not forget, but he was later arrested and faced with a different trial, one where he did enter a guilty plea for as a result of a deal. This was not a case where we feel like there was any huge takeaway beyond what can happen behind bars, and the questions as to whether or not putting someone in this position changes them. Would he had become someone capable of such horrific acts if he was never put away? This isn’t a show that gives you answers that are so clear-cut.
We should also make it clear that the show didn’t necessary try to take a stand on the Steven Avery case, which is probably for the best given that diving into that is complicated and there’s another show for that. What mattered most here is that Fin’s past came back into the present, and we saw him work with Benson, Rollins, and others to fight for what is right.
Overall, this was a strong “SVU” episode, a sad one certainly, but one that showed the strength of Fin during hard times in particular. Ice-T remains underrated in this role, which is fairly weird to say given that he’s been a part of the show for so long and you’d think he would be properly recognized by now. Grade: B+.
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